Microsoft has announced its plans to make the Windows 8 Release Preview available sometime during the first week of June. The Release Preview, as its name implies, represents a build of Microsoft’s highly anticipated and somewhat controversial operating system that the software giant believes is ready to hit shelves. It’s one of the final steps on the road to general availability, which is expected to happen sometime this fall.
Steven Sinofsky, the president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, unveiled the date at Windows Developer Days in Japan. Not coincidentally, two other big events are scheduled to take place in early June: TechEd 2012 and the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). TechEd is just the place to discuss this near-final version of Windows, and Microsoft is rumored to be preparing for a major media announcement at E3, one that could very well tie in with its Windows 8 apps.
The Windows 8 Release Preview follows the same naming convention as Microsoft’s other Windows 8 builds. The company delivered the Windows 8 Developer Preview at //build/ last September, and the Windows 8 Consumer Preview was released at a late-February event timed to coincide with the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona. The Redmond software giant is continuing to move away from the terms “alpha,” “beta,” and “release candidate,” which have slowly lost their meaning thanks to the eternal betas that some companies have provided.
As one might expect, the Release Preview will be much more stable than its predecessors, and there’s a good chance that it might include a few improvements to the UI. We also expect Microsoft to update its suite of Metro-style apps in conjunction with this release.